Two Republican candidates, Sen. Luther Strange and Roy Moore, will face off in a runoff election in September after failing to earn 50 percent of the primary vote for the right to run for a U.S. Senate seat vacated by Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
On Tuesday, Moore, who once served as chief justice of Alabama’s Supreme Court, won 39.5 percent of the primary vote. Strange, who now holds the Senate seat by appointment and had the endorsement of President Trump, won 32.2 percent.
Under Alabama election law, a primary candidate must win 50 percent of primary ballots cast to advance to a general election. The runoff is scheduled to be held on Sept. 26.
A third GOP candidate, Congressman Mo Brooks (Huntsville), once thought to be a contender for the seat, took third place with 19 percent of the vote.
As with a string of special elections in South Carolina, Georgia, Kansas and Montana, the Alabama special election is likely to draw national attention and will be considered a referendum on President Trump.
Although Strange received backing from Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), it is Moore who appears far more in tune with the president. A known anti-establishment candidate, Moore lacked out-of-state endorsements and often lagged far behind Strange in fundraising.
“I was honored to campaign with them to make America great again. I now invite them to join with me to defeat the Washington crowd lead by Mitch McConnell who attempted to buy the vote of the people of Alabama with millions of money off a PAC in Washington,” Moore told supporters Tuesday evening.
The winner of the September runoff will face Democratic challenger Doug Jones, a former federal prosecutor.
Also on Tuesday, Provo, Utah, mayor, John Curtis, defeated challengers Chris Herrod and Tanner Ainge for the right face Democrat Kathie Allen in the Beehive State’s special election in November for Jason Chaffetz’s 3rd District seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.
[New York Times] [Politico] [Photo courtesy Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call via New York Magazine]